OutKast: The 21st Century’s Greatest Hip-Hop Act

There are moments of musical awakening that keep burned into one’s mind for the remainder of their pure lives. Those cases the place, while you hear a tune’s instrumental or lyrical parts, the hairs on the again of your neck arise. The prompt connection is simple. Some of these moments from my life embody the hovering guitar riff on Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child of Mine,” the infectious smoothness of The Notorious B.I.G’s “Hypnotize” and, maybe most memorably of all, the overwhelming feeling of awe that hit me after I first heard “Bombs Over Baghdad.”

It was in the midst of a crowded college dance, my awkward center college physique attempting to not embarrass itself whereas trying to maneuver to the beat. “B.O.B” was the primary single off Stankonia, hitting the charts greater than a month earlier than your entire LP grew to become out there. As quickly because the glittering keyboard riff gave option to the pulsating drum-and-bass-style beat, I finished lifeless in my tracks. In that break up second, I knew I had heard one thing nice. Something highly effective. Something jaw-dropping.

The motive I convey this second up is that it’s an ideal reminder of how nice Andre 3000 and Big Boi are as rappers and artists. On its personal, the monitor is an unimaginable piece of labor, effortlessly bouncing from stark sociopolitical commentary to pop-ready hooks and again once more. However, when thought-about as one part within the lexicon of rap music that has been launched within the 21st century, many informal music followers neglect how necessary OutKast is to the style and its enlargement into totally different markets.

If you realize something about Southern hip-hop, you realize that it was late to the celebration the place mainstream notoriety is anxious. New York and Los Angeles had a stranglehold on the style for thus lengthy, with every coast honing their very own distinctive sound over the span of a few years. At the daybreak of the brand new millennium, Atlanta started to emerge as a brand new breeding floor for rap superpowers, with three Stacks and General Patton main the cost. Before lengthy, it grew to become the epicenter for hip-hop that dominated the popular culture dialog, a pattern that continues to today.

Without OutKast blazing that path, who is aware of what number of proficient Southern emcees and producers would’ve languished in obscurity as a result of they didn’t match into that East Coast or West Coast archetype. They didn’t invent the ATL sound however they definitely put it on the map. Perhaps much more importantly, they proved it was attainable to exist outdoors of these Diddy or Dre-led interior circles and nonetheless make information that captivated the lots who, on the time of my college dance epiphany, had been craving one thing new and thrilling. OutKast definitely delivered on that degree.

Which brings us again to the music and, the place this group is anxious, what a humiliation of riches it’s. Many could declare that their earlier work on albums equivalent to Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik and ATLiens is their greatest work, with moody, melodic grooves setting the tone for a lot of what Andre and Big Boi would create after; nonetheless, I’d argue that their post-90s output, which gifted the world such masterstrokes as Speakerboxxx/The Love Below and the criminally underrated Idlewild alongside the aforementioned Stankonia. It was a string of musical success that few may’ve anticipated.

Let’s truly linger on that final level for a second and think about how that ties into the recognition of an LP like Speakerboxxx. With over 5.5 million items bought within the US alone, licensed 11 instances platinum by the RIAA, it’s one of the standard albums of that decade. It additionally grew to become solely the second rap album (after Lauryn Hill’s Miseducation) to win the Grammy for Album of the Year. All these accolades, particularly for a report that sounds as peculiar in spots as Speakerboxxx does, shouldn’t solely be thought-about one among rap’s all-time triumphs, however a second that helped the style attain a broader viewers

On prime of all that, there’s the sheer vocal dexterity and rhyming capabilities that Andre and Big Boi confirmed off throughout their time collectively. Often performed at a blisteringly quick tempo, the smoothness and playfulness with which the 2 would spit bars is just extraordinary. I keep in mind that being one of many qualities that impressed me a lot about “B.O.B” within the first place – the notion that the 2 rappers had been executing their rhyming duties with such precision and mastery that, in the long run, they needed to look ahead to us to catch up.

There are far too many nice moments, each dwell and within the recording studio, to look at intimately right here; as an alternative, I’d name everybody’s consideration to the aftermath of OutKast’s quiet departure from the hip-hop scene. Like two actors from a beloved sitcom that went off the air on the peak of its powers, Andre and Big Boi are always being requested about the potential of a reunion. Oftentimes, sequels and rehashes cheapen the impact of the unique – I imply, can’t we allow them to be recognized for his or her work within the “outdated days?” That mentioned, I do know loads of rap followers who need one final album from the 2. One final shot at recapturing the glory that when was. I do know I’m one among them.

From a business, inventive and affect standpoint, OutKast test all of the packing containers wanted to be thought-about the most effective teams ever. In this case, I feel it goes deeper than that. Without them on the helm, hip-hop could have been in peril of turning right into a homogenized, two-state product, peddling the identical flows and drained situations for an untold period of time. Injecting the South into the style’s bigger dialog and galvanizing most people with their creativity, they had been the last word emcee duo: One that didn’t sacrifice their distinctive strategy to creating music for the sake of mainstream profitability. For that, in addition to numerous nights blaring their tracks at max quantity in my headphones, I salute them.

OSBS – Land on the Moon